Online safety is a concern for everyone. Technology is constantly evolving, making it difficult for schools to keep up to speed with digital issues and to ensure children use resources safely.
So, What Do Ofsted Say About Online Safety?
Ofsted has outlined the ways it considers and inspects online safety, including all early years, education and skills settings with safeguarding becoming an important priority for inspectors.
The term online safety encompasses a wide range of issues associated with technology and access to content, contact with others and behavioural issues.
Essentially, Ofsted requires that environments where children, young people and vulnerable adults can learn and develop, are safe.
You can take a look at the detailed guidance for Ofsted inspectors to use when inspecting safeguarding under the common inspection framework online.
Guidance Key Messages
Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children and learners from:
The term online safety encompasses a wide range of issues associated with technology and access to content, contact with others and behavioural issues:
- Neglect, bullying, violence and abuse (sexual, physical, racial, disability and emotional)
- Radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
- Child sexual exploitation and trafficking
- The impact of new technologies on sexual behaviour, such as sexting
Safeguarding is not just about protection against deliberate harm and failure to act, but relates to children’s and learners’ health and safety and well-being, including their mental health.
Signs of Successful Safeguarding Arrangements
Successful safeguarding arrangements focus on clear leadership, effective staff development, intervention mechanisms (including reporting routes) and effective self and peer education.
Leaders and managers have put in place effective child protection and staff behaviour policies that are well understood by everyone in the setting, leaving children and learners protected and feeling safe.
Written records are made in an appropriate and timely way and are held securely where adults working with children or learners are concerned about their safety or welfare.
What Do You Need To Do?
Firstly, consider if you have online safety policies and acceptable-use policies in place that are clear, understood and respected by everyone, and comply with the law at all times.
Inspectors will look for evidence of the 5 main aspects of safeguarding:
A positive culture and ethos where safeguarding is an important part of everyday life.
Content, application and effectiveness of safeguarding policies and procedures.
Quality of safeguarding practice, including evidence that staff are aware of signs.
Timeliness of response.
Quality of work to support multi-agency plans.
A clear strategy for reporting and intelligence gathering must be in place to allow staff to ensure that any necessary interventions are carried out to protect the safety of pupils in their care.
Every setting should have an effective child protection policy and a staff behaviour policy. This is sometimes called the code of conduct and should include, among other things:
Acceptable Use of Technologies
Staff/Pupil Relationships and Communications
The Use of Social Media
As individuals, you need to be aware of your organisation’s:
Child Protection Policy
Staff Behaviour Policy (sometimes called a code of conduct)
Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead
How Can Glow Learning Help?
National Online Safety e-learning course for schools staff has been carefully researched and developed by experts in a wide range of fields, including teachers, Ofsted inspection officers, marketeers, web and IT specialists, to create a solution to empower both school staff and pupils alike.
The ultimate aim is to protect children from the risks of online activity, but it also understands the pressure on schools to be able show Ofsted inspectors that they not only are aware of the changing requirements of online safety and have the correct policies in place, but can achieve outstanding practice by being able to provide evidence that their staff and pupils have been effectively taught about the importance of online safety and can demonstrate best practice.
This e-learning course is designed to fit in with the busy working lives of school staff and pupils. It can be easily accessed on computer, tablet and mobile ensuring that you can learn at your convenience.
The modules have been carefully designed to deliver the necessary information in a concise but effective way with practical examples throughout. You can find out more about the National Online Safety course for school staff and pupils here: